It's tragic, really. For months, you've seen the same group of guys at the gym doing bench presses - two, three, and sometimes four days a week (in which case, that's probably all they do at the gym). And how do they look? Exactly the same as when you first laid eyes on them. They pyramid up in weight, starting with eight reps of 185, then six reps of 205, maybe three reps of 215, and then one rep of 225, which their buddies have to deadlift off their chests before it kills them.
They train with heart but no brains, and that's the reason they plateau for years at a time-failing to increase their pressing strength and chest size. Hopefully, being an MF reader, you're not a member of the aforementioned meathead mafia. But whether you are or not-if you're looking for a way to add size to your chest, it's time to switch to the Complete Chest Program now.
For this month's workout, we've devised the most scientiffcally advanced method yet for building size in your upper body as well as adding strength in your bench press, ensuring that you train both hard and smart without any wasted effort. Read on, and you'll find out the techniques that make for fast growth, adding muscle to your chest (along with the rest of your body) for sizable-and symmetrical-results.
PUSH AND PULL
Ask any old-school bodybuilder how to add two inches to your chest, and he'll be happy to lead you through a routine of bench presses, inclines, flys, and cable crossovers. But rows? "No," he'll tell you. "Those are for Back Day." Well, research has shown that a rowing movement is one of the best exercises you can include in a chest workout. Not only does it promote strength and muscle mass on the rear side of the shoulder joints-thereby helping keep your upper back and rear delts in balance with the pecs and front delts-it also prepares the entire shoulder girdle to lift heavier weights on pressing exercises.
Your main bench-press workout of the week (Workout A on the next page) will begin with one set of seated cable rows for just this purpose, allowing you to put up monstrous numbers on the bench presses that follow. You'll find that most of your other pressing exercises are also paired with a row or similar pulling movement, so that each time you stimulate your chest muscles, your body is ready to use the heaviest weights the set calls for.
REDEFINING THE "CHEST DAY"
As we've just mentioned, old-fashioned chest workouts take you through a slew of chest exercises. For each one, you're supposed to perform numerous sets with the attitude that if you don't feel sore for days afterward, you had better do more next time. But there's a better way. Rather than making you spend an hour or more trying to hammer a few muscles into submission, our workout hits the chest directly while working every other muscle along with it in the session. This allows you to train your entire body in less than an hour, and it releases a flood of the muscle-building hormones you need to bring on rapid gains.
In addition to building muscle faster, organizing your training in this way increases the amount of recovery time you get between sets and/or exercises. For example, in Workout A, you'll do bench presses early on and then go to deadlifts, which are mainly a lower-body exercise. Afterward, you'll do dumbbell alternating presses-another chest exercise-and you'll probably find you can use a heavier load than you anticipated. That's because, at this point, it will have been long enough since you completed the bench presses that your chest will feel almost fresh again. And because you're not blitzing your chest completely each session, you'll be able to recover in time for your next one-and more frequent training means faster growth.